I have a confession. My favorite sacrament, ironically, is the sacrament of reconciliation. I know . . . I know. . . the Eucharist is the top sacrament. It is, after all, the source and summit of our faith. But, I really love going to confession. Well, let me add in a caveat . . . I would much more prefer it if I never ever had to go to confession again but, I know that I am a sinner. I recognize that I sin and that the only way to get rid of that sin is by going to the confessional. I know that "confessing my sins to God directly" doesn't cut it. It's not the way that God intended it to be. It's too easy. It doesn't take any humility. People who do so are fooling themselves and are missing out on the closeness to God that comes with confession.
I was never able to describe how going to confession feels adequately. Not until I heard Mark Hart's keynote speech Friday morning at NCYC in Indianapolis last week. The morning session is below. Mark's keynote starts at about the 54 minute mark and the portion that hit me like a ton of bricks starts at about the 82 minute mark---but watch it all. It is worth it.
I really encourage you to watch the video because I am just going to butcher the explanation. Mark talks about how people walk with their heads down because they are embarrassed. They are ashamed of their sins. He then describes what "cilia" are. They are little hair like things on cells that help them move. He continues saying that God, in His infinite wisdom gave humans cilia also. He says that our eye lashes are like cilia. And when we go to reconCILIAtion we are brought back together with God. It is an eye lash to eye lash encounter with God. He lifts up are chin and makes us new again.
Just that idea--that metaphor sends shivers up and down my spine. To sense the spiritual side of reconciliation and imagining being eye lash to eye last with God during confession stirs something inside of me. It gets me choked up. To think that God, the creator of the universe, not only is willing, but desires for me and all of mankind to be reconciled with him. That He wants that type of intimate encounter with me and is willing to wipe away all of my sin in order to be with me.
I went to confession the day after Mark's speech and that visual image struck me as the words of absolution were spoken by the priest and I could barely say my Act of Contrition because I felt God's love. I felt him lifting the yoke of sin and taking that burden off of me. Words cannot describe it. I'm truly not worthy but it doesn't matter. God loves me and wants to forgive me. He loves you too. And He wants to forgive you too. So, if it's been awhile since you've been to confession find out when the next one is and go. Have that eye lash to eye lash encounter with God.